10 familiar abbreviations that many marketers can’t define

Acronyms and initialisms abound in the industry, yet their long-form meanings are lost on new and old practitioners alike. Here’s a guide to deciphering the alphabet soup.

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The marketing industry loves acronyms and abbreviations.

For better or worse (often worse), we marketers will try to shorten just about any common phrase to save even a single syllable.

Over-acronyming (totally a word) can cause confusion when the same acronyms (or initialisms) come to mean several things or are incorrectly applied. There’s another danger: Acronyms that are so commonly used that we either forget or never knew what they actually stand for.

Sure, we might know enough about their usage to get by in conversation, but not knowing the underlying components of an acronym can dilute your understanding of a concept. Worse, it can leave you open to embarrassment should you fail to recognize the complete phrase.

Below are acronyms and initialisms that, on more than one occasion, I’ve found to be incompletely understood by the people throwing them around. A simple understanding of the words behind the abbreviation would have gone a long way in our conversations.


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